Culture Freedom Human Resources Leadership Vision

One size fits all; part II

Even in a tough economic climate, smart leaders will continue to do the right thing.

For visionary leaders, one size fits all is over.

These leaders understand that people are different, with different needs, different contexts, and different aspirations for the future.

You can’t lead these people as if they’re all the same.

Erikjan Lantink

Last Tuesday, I wrote to you about my regret for not pursuing opportunities to exploit this model.

I don’t think it was a mistake, given my context back then, but I consider it a missed opportunity.

Also, I didn’t suffer because of it.

I’m just amazed that even today, so many executives still are in denial about where the world of work is headed.

Yes, they will have the momentum on their side for a few years due to the upcoming recession, but this, too, will pass.

The sun will eventually come out again when you’re in a storm.


Last week, I witnessed a presentation about the future of work from a consultant who had worked intensively with IKEA.

She confirmed everything I’m passionate and convinced about:

  1. Ways of working are diversifying.
  2. Organizations need to build a better human experience.
  3. Organizations need to become purpose driven.
  4. People empowerment and innovation are crucial.
  5. Resilience and adaptability will be key qualities to have.
  6. Inclusion is expected.
One size fits all is over.

The new will slowly but surely take over from the old.

People won’t work for the old anymore.

Yes, they will need to for a while to rescue their income, but as soon as that period is over, they’re gone.

So the time is now to invest in the new.

Especially now, because every crisis is an opportunity.

Most will not see through the storm, knowing there’s sun on the other end.

The most significant opportunity to build an engaged workforce that will drive your results through the roof is to cater to their needs and balance them with yours.

The quality of the manager is crucial. Many people have limited trust in their managers. And therefore are reluctant to discuss their needs openly.

When you’re the manager, you need to improve at establishing a relationship of trust, empowerment, and self-accountability.

People need to feel safe around you to do their best work. That means they’re comfortable discussing their needs.

Erikjan Lantink

When thinking about where to do the work, you first determine where the role can be best performed.

Some roles need customer-facing. Some roles are predominantly done behind screens.

So customer or screen is one criterion.

The second is concentration or collaboration.

Collaboration is done best face to face; concentration is best done in solitude.

“We need to collaborate, and therefore everyone needs to be in the office,” is something you often hear from CEO’s.

It’s true, but not for everyone and not in every situation. And the only one who can determine that is the direct manager.

Babysitting and control-freaking need to stop. Trust and empowerment need to take over.

When there’s a psychologically safe environment, with mutual trust established, the result will be an openness on both sides to find the best possible solution for any situation regarding work.

That’s how it gets done.

And that requires a lot of leadership development and coaching.

That’s my job today, and it’s going well.

Nearly fifteen years after our brilliant work, the world of work is still wrestling to do the right thing.

Most managers remain uncomfortable and reluctant to trust their people.

Better starts with who you are!

Your turn: Trust or no trust?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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